Brussels, 18 December 2013
State aid: Commission authorises €36 million aid for investments in Greek electricity infrastructure
The European Commission has found that public support to seven projects aimed at improving and expanding the Greek electricity network complies with EU state aid rules. Those projects will contribute to ensuring the security of energy supply by improving the reliability of the national transmission system and thus enhance the functioning of the energy market. The Commission has concluded that the aid furthers major energy objectives and environmental policies of the EU without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "The aid helps Greece to expand and strengthen its electricity network. This will improve competition between electricity suppliers and benefit consumers, also by diversifying energy sources."
The overall investment cost of the projects amount to € 112 million. The € 36 million of aid, financed by the Greek state and by EU structural funds, will notably fund the expansion of a 400 kV transmission line into East Macedonia and Thrace and the construction of an extra high voltage substation in the region. This will support an envisaged additional interconnection with Bulgaria and contribute to the interconnection of the Greek national electric energy transmission system to that of Turkey, thereby strengthening the interconnection of the EU with Asia via Greece.
In addition, the aid will fund the construction of an extra high voltage substation in the Peloponnese region, allowing for the integration of renewable power plants. The new substation constitutes one of the possible connection points for a future expansion of the system to the currently non-interconnected island of Crete. This would ultimately reduce the cost and environmental impact of electricity supplied to Crete from the mainland as compared to the current supply produced on the island from expensive diesel fired units.
The aid will also contribute to financing the installation of underground cables to cover needs in densely populated areas in Athens and Thessaloniki and tourist areas like Iraklion. Those projects ensure security and reliability of power supply to consumers in those areas, thus also addressing the challenges posed by the peak season.
The Commission found that the measures contribute to achieving security and reliability of power supply for consumers by improving network and operational security. As tariffs and network access are regulated, potential distortions of competition will be limited. At the same time, the projects will improve the electricity transmission network and enhance competition between electricity suppliers, including in particular from renewable sources of energy. The aid is therefore compatible with EU rules.
The non-confidential versions of the decisions will be made available under the case numbers SA.36870, SA.36889, SA.36890, SA.36891, SA.36892, SA.35975, SA.37068 in the State Aid Register on the DG competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.